Saturday, July 30, 2005

DoctorPing...See How You Rate!

If you are curious to see how your broadband ISP measures up against competition in terms of latency to many different internet destinations, then Doctorping will help. It calculates a latency benchmark, which you can use to compare to others in your ZIP or state. Doctorping is still somewhat under development. The class of routers they choose to test against may not be fairly distributed across the nation. So please do not raise a stink with your ISP, based on use of this test.....yet.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Congress To Take Up VoIP 911

This September, the U.S. Congress will likely pass legislation requiring at least some interconnected (read: connected to the public telephone network) VoIP providers to route 911 calls just like a traditional local phone company. What? Didn’t the FCC already order this?

You can read more at ZDNet.

The FCC did rule on 911, since you ask. But their order was arguably overly broad and seemingly inconsiderate of the limitations of small VoIP startups who are dependant upon hundred-year-old telecom companies to route their 911 calls. Yet, Packet8, VoicePulse, and others are rushing to compliance in advance of the Congress’s legislation, which will probably resemble, in most ways at least, the order put out by the FCC. Roughly stated, that order says anybody that provides a 10-digit phone number that has customers in the U.S. must route 911 calls through the nearest incumbent phone company.

Where does that leave Skype? In limbo? We still don’t know....but doesn't look good.

Datacenter Discussion , Review & Ratings Forum

If you have any involvement at all with Data Centers ....either manage or use them....you already know you have a lot on your plate to deal with. There's no reason to fret....just run over to the DataCenter.com community and plug yourself in. You'll find information on network infrastructure and Disaster Recovery services, data center ratings and reviews, server setup & server software/hardware related issues, routers and switches, routing algorithms, backbone connections and bandwidth providers, VoIP phones and VoIP PBX, wireless networking, dedicated and co-located servers, IP transit, and a whole lot more. The Pros at DataCenter.com will answer questions, and share ideas, tips, and resources. Drop in and see for yourself.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Mobile Speed Test

Are you satisfied with the speed of your mobile device...cell, PDA, or whatever? Curious on how you can test the speed and see if it's what you should be getting? Relax...you can do that pretty easily with a neat little tool.....DSLReports.com's Mobile Speed Test. It's a simple mobile speed test page optimized for tiny browsers. Simply visit http://text.dslreports.com/mspeed on your phone or PDA.....and you're all set.

Who Are The Fastest Broadband ISPs??

It can be very frustrating when you want to find out just how well your ISP really performs....or prospective ISP if you're shopping around. You really don't want to take their word for it (the usual marketing drivel). But how do you become the educated consumer.... so you can operate from a position of knowledge (sic strength) rather than ignorance (sic weakness)?

Well ... to start you can look over the speed test review table at BroadbandReports.com. The table lists over 100 ISPs with number of tests that week, domain (DNS look-up), type, down kpbs, upload kpbs, other details....and rates them in order of performance. The table is updated daily so check back as often as you need to.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Do You Have Your VoIP/BroadBand Phone Yet?

Broadband VoIP allows you to add a phone line to your home or office with a local phone number in just about any major U.S. city.... and with some vendors also in several countries such as the UK and Israel.

Here are some ways Businesses and families with geographical distances between them can take advantage of BroadBand Phone/VoIP:

1. Parents can add an additional line with a local number so their college son or daughter can always call home without the expense of long distance rates.

2. A family in Florida can bring up a local number in Minnesota where the rest of the family resides. Family members in Minnesota now dial a local number and reach the relatives in Florida with no long distance charges because the call is local for those in Minnesota, and only the party in Florida needs to have broadband service to receive the calls.

3. This technology can also help military families stay connected. VoIP is not restricted by global boundaries. A U.S. soldier in another country with a broadband connection can set up service with unlimited in bound calls that are local to his family in the U.S. His family then can make unlimited calls to him at no cost and his family in the U.S. doesn't need to have broadband access. Plus any calls they make home are either "local" or are made with an unlimited flat rate plan. That saves a ton of money.

4. Traveling executives can also take advantage of VoIP as a portable phone that can be taken along on any business trip. Many hotels will provide broad band access today. Simply plug the IP phone into the broadband connection in the hotel room. Your family and customers can now call on a local number. In addition you can still take advantage of out bound service and make calls from the room as well.

5. Businesses can drastically reduce costs from traditional calling services.... with flat rate plans which cover all of the US & Canada and often including Europe &/or Asia also.

Features & prices for some of the available VoIP phone options in your area (US only) can be found here:

Broadband Phone

The Fundamentals of DS3

To meet the growing demands for speed and bandwidth in voice and data communications....companies are turning to high speed DS3 circuits to cover all their internet capacity and reliability requirements. Choosing DS3 is also cost effective as a single DS3 costs equal to 4-10 T1/DS1s. To better equip you to make and implement this critical business decision....we highly recommend you read the white paper "The Fundamentals Of DS3".

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

List Of Phone Tool Downloads

The list of phone tools at PBXinfo.com offers a variety of freeware downloadable tools to test or improve aspects of your business phone systems. Tools include Bigfoot Call Manager 2.0 (a downloadable desktop application that allows you to initiate two-way or multi-party conference calls from your PC to any phone worldwide in just one mouse click), Call Flow Extract (comes with several utilities which will enable you to: Download your pbx call flows (vectors, hunts, agents vdns, etc). Document your entire switch for BRP purposes. Enhanced list trace features Find Unused Extensions utility Switch Auditing. Bulk Load your CMS Data Dictionary Items by batch, or synch your CMS with your PBX), CallerID Box 1.0.0 (simple TAPI based caller ID application that duplicates the functionality of basic caller ID boxes that are sold in stores), ID Commander 1.20 (Easy-to-use caller ID application), and PhoneTray Free 1.20 (easy to use FREE Caller ID software. It shows and speaks the callers name and number before you answer the phone....and more).

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Skype VoIP and Boingo Merge Internet Telephony and Global Wi-Fi Access

Broadband Wireless Exchange Magazine has a nice article on the recent partnership between Skype and Boingo...enabling Skype users to access Boingo's network of 18,000 Wi-Fi hot spots worldwide. Skype users simply log on to the Skype Zones service using the Skype Zones - Powered by Boingo software, which includes Boingo's Wi-Fi sniffer, connection management and roaming authentication capabilities. Once connected, users can make Skype calls and access key features such as presence, global user directory, contact lists and instant messages with the Skype software. Read the article to learn more.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

VoIP Rankings

Found an interesting VoIP report from Keynote Systems via Tom Keating.....thought ya'll might be interested. This is the first of its kind study of the service quality of top providers of Internet telephone service. It states Vonage ranks first in reliability while AT&T CallVantage ranks #1 for best audio quality. There's some other interesting insights as well. Although I don't agree totally with their findings - it's worth checking it out at VoIP Rankings Report.

Tom Keating's VoIP Blog - VoIP News & Gadgets

If you're looking for news, tips, and entertainment I suggest dropping in at Tom Keating's VoIP Blog. Tom is a VoIP Blogger and VoIP Journalist extraordinaire. Not only does Tom keep up with the most interesting breaking news and offer some of the most insightful background and tips on VoIP technology...he also has a knack for injecting a healthy does of humor at just the right place and time.

I also suggest visiting Tom's VoIP Forum at TMCnet On The Web. Tom offers a community of discussion on such subject areas as Packet8, Vonage, CallVantage, Voicepulse, Deltathree, Net2Phone, broadband voice service, VoIP Gateway (Quintum, Cisco ATA-186, Motorola)....Discussion of open-source Asterisk PBX with VoIP support, User discussions of Sipura Technology's popular ATAs (analog telephony adaptors) used in VoIP....Skype....Triple Play....VoIP Termination, Origination, Trade, Barter Minutes - Want Ads....CRM, call center hardware, call center technology and software....Hiring Call Center Agents, Outsourcing, Wanted Ads, Hosted CRM, etc.....and WiMax.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Broadband Speed Tests

Wonder just how much speed your broadband connection is really delivering? You can stop pulling your hair out and losing sleep over it. Just use this simple Speed Test from Broadband Reports and all your worries are over. You'll be able to test your line performance both upload speed and download speed, from several locations. The result shown is your data transfer speed. This should be close, but less, than your rated (purchased) line speed. If you can get close to 90% of your rated line speed, everything is perfect!

Friday, July 08, 2005

Skype For Internet Explorer

For those who haven't heard yet....Skype has released a toolbar and plug-in for Internet Explorer that enhances Skype Callto. This new gadget offers links and provides automatic dialing ability. Skype user and beta tester Peter Henning has a nice little article on this development in his Skype Journal. Naturally, Firefox and Mac OS X have been left out of the equation just as they are with Skype’s API. Of course ya'll know I'm not necessarily a Skype advocate....but this is some interesting news and does raise a bit of a quandry for Microsoft's possible plans to get into VoIP themselves.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Project Gizmo....Try It

The Unofficial Apple Weblog (TUAW.com) recently spouted praises for a new VoIP/Internet Phone which appears to be tackling Skype head on. Gizmo is a softphone for Mac and Windows (and soon Linux) that appears a lot like Skype but with some cool differences. For starters its developers’ insistence on open standards (SIP most notably). Also included are some really great features Skype doesn’t have—like call recording and a world map showing the approximate location of your call buddies. I suggest you join in the Gizmo Project and test it out yourself.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

What's YOUR Favorite Desktop VoIP Application?

Yea, yea....your first inclination may be to answer Skype. But....does Skype really own desktop VoIP? There are lots of other apps out there in case you didn't know. So....don't just be a mouth piece. Not looking for easily influenced tag-alongs. Lets get some real users with actual experience posting some comments in reply to this question. So....how about X-Pro/X-Light, Skype, iConnectHere, Firefly, iChat, Yahoo Messenger, MSN Messenger, Trillian, Adium, and Gnophone. If you'd like to suggest another....by all means do so. Anybody?????

Switching To VoIP

Developer, author and VoIP blogger Ted Wallingford has just come out with a new book entitled "Switching To VoIP." Ted's book has been published by O’Reilly, and is available at Oreilly.com, Amazon,and Barnes and Noble.

"Switching To Voip" has been called “the voice of reason in an industry full of hype”.

A synopsis of the book follows:

"Internet-based telephony has become a viable solution, piquing the interest of companies small and large. The primary reason for migrating to VoIP is cost, as it equalizes the costs of long distance calls, local calls, and e-mails to fractions of a penny per use. But the real enterprise turn-on is how VoIP empowers businesses to mold and customize telecom and datacom solutions using a single, cohesive networking platform. These business drivers are so compelling that legacy telephony is going the way of the dinosaur, yielding to Voice over IP as the dominant enterprise communications paradigm.

Switching to VoIP provides solutions for the most common VoIP migration challenges. So if you’re a network professional who is migrating from a traditional telephony system to a modern, feature-rich network, this book is a must-have. You’ll discover the strengths and weaknesses of circuit-switched and packet-switched networks, how VoIP systems impact network infrastructure, as well as solutions for common challenges involved with IP voice migrations.

To help you grasp the core principles at work, Switching to VoIP uses a combination of strategy and hands-on “how-to” that introduce VoIP routers and media gateways, various makes of IP telephone equipment, legacy analog phones, IPTables and Linux firewalls, and the Asterisk open source PBX software by Digium. You’ll learn how to build an IP-based or legacy-compatible phone system and voicemail system complete with e-mail integration while becoming familiar with VoIP protocols and devices. Switching to VoIP remains vendor-neutral and advocates standards, not brands.

If VoIP has your attention, like so many others, then Switching to VoIP will help you build your own system, install it, and begin making calls. It’s the only thing left between you and a modern telecom network."

Friday, July 01, 2005

How To Monitor Your ISP Connectivity & Performance

Does your ISP promise always-on? Are you getting it? You can keep track of many aspects of your connectivity including 24/7 line monitoring....and get weekly reports as well...with this cool little tool from BroadbandReports.com.

Virginia: Broadband Wonderland

Virginia is one of the hottest broadband states in the nation, with Fios deployment forcing cable operators to unveil 15Mbps tiers. Now a rural telecom provider dubbed Citizen's Wireless is deploying Flash-OFDM wireless broadband to Blacksburg, Christiansburg and Radford, Virginia. This bodes as a major shakeup in an area screaming for service and simmering with competition. Get the whole scoop at RCR Wireless News....and Flarion News.

Exclusive Congressional Reports Now Available Online

From PC World.....Some of the most coveted research on Capitol Hill has long been available only to members of Congress. But now, thanks to a project led by the Center for Democracy and Technology, reports on anything from Internet identity theft to spyware, and more, are now accessible to all. The new Web site supplies a searchable database of more than 8000 reports produced by the Congressional Research Service. However, only those CRS reports that are already in the public domain are available through the database.

Latin American Wireless Market Growing

The Research And Markets research reports website has an interesting tidbit on the wireless market in Latin America. Expected growth is anywhere between 55 and 90 million new subscribers to be added by 2009. predictions are that Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, and Colombia should account for about 80% of the growth. Two companies are vying for the bulk of the market share presently — Mexico’s America Movil and Spain’s Telefonica Moviles. At this point, spectrum allocation and 3G licensing and deployment are the major issues facing the companies as they slug it out for the business. It could get interesting...for consumers and entrepreneurs alike.